Retrospective – Concerts of 2007 : Martha Wainwright – Dynamic, Quirky, Brilliant, Live Review, Shepherd’s Bush Empire, August 17th 2007

Posted: January 22, 2013 in Alternative Music, Concerts of 2007, Folk, Pop, Popular Music
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I have been to see Martha Wainwright again recently in December 2012 but pending my publishing a review of that concert I thought it would be worth republishing my review of her 2007 concert at the same venue.

I first wrote this blog in

Martha Wainwright’s reputation for brilliant live shows was completely justified when she played the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Wearing the higest of heels that would have challenged even the most talented top runway model, she sparkled throughout the set. The guitar was strummed with gusto as she ehtusiatically played tracks from her 2006 self titled debut album and showcased some new songs from next years forthcoming album. The variety of song styles that were peformed, ranging from the angst ridden “Ball and Chain” to the wistful “Far Away” through to the early 70’s retro-feel “GPT”, was impressive. Nor did it even seems to matter to anyone when, ironically she momentarily forgot her lines during the aptly titled song “Don’t Forget”. The moment passed with a joke and this made her seems all the more endearing to her audience. Then, in the last third of the show a treat. With a grand announcement by Martha , Pete Townsend, from the Who complete with windmill arm and his partner Rachel Fuller may a low key entrance on stage and accompanied Martha on accoustic guitar on several tracks, notably “This Life”. Townsend appearance proved the icing on an already rich cake. Nonetheless, one final surprise lay in store. The show was closed with a Piafeseque song Dis, Quand reviendras-tu? , sung entirely in French.

Given that Martha’s music is quite distinct from that of the other illustrious Wainwright of the moment, it is, probably, not fair to compare the two. However, inevitably comparisons will abound and her performance more than matched if not surpassed that of her brother. The show did not contain the classical and cabaret elements that are associated with Rufus Wainwright but the show was impressive in its range of stylistic variation that can be attributed not only to her skills as a live performer but also her song writing abilities.


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